Striving to Leave all You Touch Better Than You Found it – is Ramayana’s inspiration for Texan Founder of Enverus

Striving to Leave all You Touch Better Than You Found it – is Ramayana’s inspiration for Texan Founder of Enverus

As it celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, the leading SaaS and data analytics company in the world for energy exploration decision support – Drillinginfo - changed its name to Enverus.
The Austin, Texas-based company with an office in Denver, also marked the surpassing of $300 million in annual recurring revenue. While making the announcement company officials said the new name better reflects the company’s identity.

“Our company’s purpose is to create the future of the energy industry together in collaboration with our customers and partners. This is a larger mission than we began with and represents our evolution to becoming Enverus,” co-founder, CEO Allen Gilmer said in a statement.

Company officials said the new name reflects the company’s growth and philosophy: “En” for energy; “ver” for clarity and truth; and “us” for partnership, collaboration, people and humanity.

Allen Gilmer, co-Founder, CEO and Chairman of Enverus (earlier Drillinginfo) is a typical Texan, making strides in the world of Oil. A little known fact about Gilmer, Hart Energy's Top 20 Energy Innovators in 2019, is that he is an avid Ramayana fan.
His interest in the Ramayana began in high school when his Trigonometry teacher Mr Schenck would read from Hindu epics every Friday.

In Gilmer’s blogs one sees a lot of commentary on the human condition – about responses to fear, to fighting the real enemy, laying the ground for good decision making – typical business jargon. Asked if he sees any parallels between the world of Oil and Energy and the Ramayana, which is an ancient epic dealing with the entire gamut of emotions and actions, Gilmer replies – Absolutely. “It amazes me how wise humans were and have been for millennia. I am equally impressed with the Greeks in this regard. Every generation thinks it is smarter and wiser than the last, and eventually we lose all perspective and understanding of the original concepts we were originally building on.”

Even with the world today being divided into the Good, Bad and Ugly, Gilmer says he thinks “it’s important to understand that there are many world views and contrasting ethical constructs. One has to understand them to successfully negotiate them.”

Gilmer has read synopses of the Ramayana and admits he is not a scholar but has delved into Yashodeep Deodhar’s Youtube series on the Ramayana. “Yashodeep’s Youtube series very effectively deals with my very modern attention span. My favourite character is Sita, Rama's wife. I know I should say Hanuman, but final verdict... Sita. She remained true to Rama, subjected herself to every one of his trials and tribulations, and later dealt with gossip and innuendo several times, and once she realized no number of trials by fire would erase the gossip, and chose a path that protected her husband and her dignity and grace. She is truly heroic and her sacrifice ultimate.”

What can Hanuman represent in modern day American society (Former President Obama is believed to have kept a figurine of Hanuman in his pocket at all times)? Is he a Super Hero, or a Hero in his own right and not just a devotee of Lord Rama. Gilmer replies: “Hanuman served Lord Rama but it was because he recognized the rightness of Lord Rama's character and similarity to his own. I think in that sense he is equally heroic. We look for values instead of people and when those values align, we choose to serve those exemplifying those values.”

Being in the Oil analytics industry, there is one theme in the Ramayana which appeals to Gilmer - a reverence for nature. Says Gilmer, “Think about it for a minute. Here is a text which can be dated at least back a few thousand years. It held out the environment and all it contained as a distinct value. Ayodhya was known for its drinkable ‘sweet’ water. It wasn't until the 20th century when potable water became a priority, and one could argue it wasn't until the 1960's that it was recognized for its importance. One can argue that as a value meme, it is the one value that transcends every culture. That is an amazing POV from someone writing in more or less ‘primitive’ society. Makes you wonder how primitive it really was? Not so much, I bet.”

How can an all American, Texas based billionaire’s upbringing and lifestyle fit with a reading of the Ramayana? “Great question. I try to live by the Golden Rule, which is an imperfect western description of a person to person Dharma, I guess. I fall way short in many other ways. That's what makes studying this fascinating. Are there lessons to be had that cause me to question my behaviour? The older we get, the more fossilized we become,” says Gilmer.

The concept of Dharma which Rama epitomises is absent in most non-Indian languages. But the corporate world bandies it and so does the world of popular culture. What does Dharma mean to Gilmer, as it is set up in the Ramayana?

“The Right Way. Beautifully objective but completely impossible to describe. I think my Golden Rule example from above if you expanded it from human to human to you and all things works. Balance. Striving to leave all you touch better than you found it.”

(Yashodeep’s 21Notes Valmiki Ramayan, which has inspired Allen Gilmer is a series of contemporary and captivating short format videos on the ancient epic. They appeal to the modern mind especially because the approach is fresh, unbiased and rational. So far 17 videos of the Balakand and 10 videos of the Ayodyakand have been published. His videos have a contemporary appeal.)